Concrete is ranked as one of the most durable construction materials used in Australia. But like any other type of construction material, it has its downsides. One of the major issues concrete builders have to deal with is concrete's high porosity levels. Concrete pores can allow water to permeate through the material, thus compromising the aesthetics and structural soundness of buildings constructed with concrete.
Concrete contractors can undertake a number of steps to ensure that concrete foundations are properly waterproofed. Waterproofing, in this sense, involves keeping water away from the foundations and preventing it from rising up through the concrete, typically through capillary action.
Here is a look at what can be done to waterproof concrete foundations.
Ensuring appropriate concrete mix
Many people are oblivious to the fact that how the concrete is mixed actually impacts the waterproofing capacity of concrete foundations. Yes, the concrete mix matters because the proportion of water in the poured concrete will determine how much water is retained in the concrete after it dries. Ideally, no water should remain behind once the concrete is cured, but that's not what normally happens.
Some water will always be "locked up" in the concrete and rise up through the concrete over time. It is critical to optimise the amount of water in the concrete mix in order to minimise dry shrinkage, which can result in crack formation on the surface of the concrete. Only experienced concrete contractors know how to achieve the right concrete mixes.
Applying surface coatings
Because unprotected concrete is porous, it is important to apply protective coatings onto concrete substrates to ensure that water that comes into contact with the concrete does not infiltrate through it. Stormwater that trickles down concrete walls or water that gets poured onto concrete floors can find its way into concrete foundations. For that reason, it is important to ensure that concrete walls and floors are protected with waterproofing coatings.
There is a wide range of concrete waterproofing products that can be used, including concrete rendering, concrete sealers, concrete paints, epoxy coatings, and elastomeric coatings. The choice of an appropriate surface treatment should be based upon the specific requirements of each application.
Diverting water away from the foundation
Another effective way to prevent water damage to concrete foundations is to try to eliminate the threat; that is, keep water away from the foundations. This can be achieved by strategically installing drains to direct water away from the foundation.
With these steps, many concrete contractors are able to provide building owners with waterproof structures that can last for years and years.